Those who seek expensive and rare coffee often cite Luwak Coffee as the most desired, and most expensive, type of java. For others, it is not the price tag—$160 per pound—that detracts from the desirability of Luwak Coffee but the somewhat unsettling fact that this coffee is so rare because the coffee beans must first pass through the digestive system of the mongoose before processing. While Luwak Coffee has found popularity all over the world and many coffee lovers are willing to pay the hefty cost, others prefer another type of rare coffee—Hacienda La Esmeralda from Panama.
The Hacienda La Esmeralda coffee has a unique taste because it is produced at high altitudes, this is said to produce a sweeter and brighter cup of coffee. It will still set one back a minimum of $104 per pound, but some feel this is the price one pays in order to experience the best coffee in the world.
The history of the beans used to make Hacienda La Esmeralda coffee dates back to a study of the wild coffee beans of Ethiopia in 1936. At the time, a British captain had been ordered to collect seeds of wild Ethiopian coffee varieties by the Director of Agriculture in Kenya. The objective was to access the commercial viability of different types of beans in British colonies. While now the Geisha region is widely known for its highly praised coffee beans, news of the superior beans began to spread even back in the 1930s.
The seeds collected eventually traveled to Tanzania and Costa Rica before making their way to Hacienda La Esmeralda. Hacienda La Esmeralda acquired the seeds and observed that the Geisha trees were more resistant to coffee leaf rust than other varieties. This resistance was praised due to the fact that many trees were destroyed by the prevalence of coffee leaf rust.
According to their website, the high altitude growing combined with the fact that the coffee is picked “at the absolute peak of ripeness” is what ensures a mix of citric acidity and a fruity juicy body. For coffee lovers, it is only natural that the coffee of Hacienda La Esmeralda is listed as one of the 10 most expensive coffee varieties in the world.